What Does It Feel Like When An Ovarian Cyst Ruptures?

An ovarian cyst is a sac, typically filled with fluid, that develops on or inside an ovary — the female reproductive organ that produces eggs and hormones (via the Mayo Clinic). Ovarian cysts can be classified into several types — the most common being the functional cyst, which is typically harmless and painless, and forms due to the menstrual cycle.

According to the clinic, there are several different types of ovarian cysts, including follicular cysts, Corpus luteum cysts, endometriomas, dermoid cysts, and cystadenomas. Follicular cysts and corpus luteum cysts are both functional cysts, as they are related to the menstrual cycle.

Follicular cysts form when the follicle that contains an egg does not burst open to release the egg, as it normally would, and instead continues to grow. Corpus luteum cysts form when the sac that forms after the release of the egg fails to dissolve and instead fills with fluid. 

Endometriomas form when tissue similar to that which lines the inside of the uterus (the endometrium) grows on the ovary. Dermoid cysts develop from germ cells and might contain skin, teeth, or hair tissue. Cystadenomas are cysts that form from cells on the surface of the ovary, and are filled with a watery or mucousy substance, per the Mayo Clinic.

The presence of an ovarian cyst does not necessarily indicate a health concern, since many go away on their own. Still, some cysts can cause symptoms or become problematic if they grow too large or burst.

What does a ruptured cyst feel like?

You'll want to see a doctor if you suspect a cyst is causing discomfort. Regular gynecological exams and ultrasound tests can help detect ovarian cysts and monitor their growth.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, ovarian cysts can burst or rupture for various reasons, such as an increase in size. Some people don't notice any symptoms when an ovarian cyst ruptures. For others, a ruptured ovarian cyst can cause bloating, sudden and sharp pain in the back or belly, and discomfort that lasts a few days. According to the source, some people may also experience vaginal spotting or bleeding.

Severe symptoms of a ruptured cyst include vomiting and nausea, dizziness, faintness, severe pain, and heavy vaginal bleeding, says Johns Hopkins Medicine. A ruptured cyst can also cause a fever, which may suggest an infection, says the Cleveland Clinic. If you're experiencing these concerning symptoms, along with abdominal pain, see your doctor immediately, or get emergency medical attention. 

How are ovarian cysts treated?

An underlying medical condition such as endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease can increase the risk that a ruptured cyst requires medical attention. However, not all ruptured cysts require treatment.

In some cases, a simple observation may be needed, while in others, medication will be necessary, says Johns Hopkins Medicine. Pain management is usually the first step in treating a ruptured cyst, with over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen recommended for mild to moderate pain, says the Cleveland Clinic

If you experience severe pain or other concerning symptoms, your doctor can determine the best course of action for your situation. Antibiotics may be required to prevent further complications if an infection is associated with the ruptured cyst, says the clinic.

In rare cases, surgery may be required if the cyst is large or causing significant symptoms. In many cases, minimally invasive surgery may be performed, while in other cases, more invasive abdominal surgery may be required, according to the Mayo Clinic.